The Philadelphia Phillies have lost two starting pitchers this week -- one to demotion and one to injury -- and their ace is 2-5 in his last eight starts. If postseason hero Cole Hamels can regain his 2008 form, the Phils may not be out of the playoff picture, and he seemed like his old self on Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals. Hamels worked on a cutter in the offseason to complement his low-90's fastball and devastating changeup, and on Thursday he featured the best cut fastball of his career.
How Phillies starter Cole Hamels 1-hit the Cardinals over 8 innings:
Best cutter of his career:
- Averaged 91.9 MPH (2nd-best in a start in his career)
- Chase pct of 54.5 (3rd-best in a start this season)
- Miss pct of 50.0 (most in a start this season)
- Finished 8 AB with it (most in a start this season), allowing just one hit
- Got 6 swings-and-misses (8 combined in his last 9 starts)
- Got 5 K (only 9 ALL SEASON entering Thursday)
But Hamels wasn't the only pitching star in this one, as the Cards countered with Adam Wainwright. While Hamels held the Red Birds to one hit in eight innings, Wainwright struck out six hitters in six innings, and held the Phillies scoreless, and they'd stay that way until the 11th inning.
How Cardinals Starter Adam Wainwright kept his team in a scoreless game:
Pounded low in the zone:
- Threw 70 pct of his pitches down in the strike zone, his highest in any start this season.
- When he got his curveball down, it was untouchable. The Phillies swung at eight curveballs down in the zone and missed on seven of them (88 pct), his highest miss percentage this season. The only curveball down in the zone they made contact with was fouled off. It was the first time this season that the opposing team put none of Wainwright's low curveballs in play.
- Five of Wainwright's six K came on pitches down in the zone, including four on his curveball.
- As a team, the Phillies were 1-for-12 on pitches down in the zone. For the season, Wainwright is holding opponents to just a .153 BA in this location. That's tied for the third lowest mark in baseball (min 135 PAs).
With all that dominant pitching, there was some baseball history in the making. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Phillies are the first team in modern baseball history (since 1900) to pitch a one-hit shutout of 11-or-more innings.